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When it comes to medium format photography – using 120 and 616 film, as opposed to 35mm film – I’ve had hits and misses with my cameras. Many of my medium format camera that were once in my possession...
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Equipment Replacement Value: $300
When it comes to medium format photography – using 120 and 616 film, as opposed to 35mm film – I’ve had hits and misses with my cameras. Many of my medium format camera that were once in my possession – the Holga, the Kowa Super 66, the Kodak Brownie Bull’s-Eye – have gone from “Chuck uses” to “Chuck doesn’t use” to “Chuck dropped it off at the Photo Center of Troy for their museum and never wants to see that camera ever again.”
That doesn’t mean that I’ve given up on medium format shooting. I still have my beloved Rolleiflex Automat MX and my dependable Agfa Clack. But I need a good, solid multifunction medium format camera, something that shows power and dedication and skill and determination.
Well, after much searching, I finally found the analogue camera for my needs. May I present to you the Kodak Medalist II.
The Kodak Medalist II was manufactured between 1946 and 1953, and is considered one of the company’s crown jewels. The Medalist II, an improvement over the original Medalist camera, can provide extremely tack-sharp photographs in a 6×9 format, a format similar to my Agfa Clack camera. But the Medalist II is a “rangefinder” camera; focusing involves staring into the viewfinder and adjusting the dials until two beam-split images in the viewfinder merge as one. Once the split images merge, the picture will be in perfect focus. Then you take the shot.
But as you can see from this picture on the left – which was taken five minutes after I removed the camera from its shipping box and cow-leather carrying case – this little Kodak has seen better days. I think it’s seen better lifetimes. The lens was clouded with gunk, the shutter was locked, the focusing mechanism required the strength of Hercules.
*You'll have to re-spool 120 film onto a 620 spool